Formula 1 roars back to life this week, with the grid returning to action for the Dutch Grand Prix. Following a rather quiet “silly season,” with only sporadic rumors surfacing on the driver lineup front, F1 got its first bit of news on the 2024 grid Thursday morning.
Haas announced that their lineup would remain the same next season, with both Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg returning for the 2024 campaign.
“I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had an extremely solid driver pairing this season in Formula 1 and ultimately there was no reason to look to change that moving forward,” said Team Principal Guenther Steiner. “Kevin is obviously a very well-known quantity to us, and I’m delighted he’ll return for what will be his seventh season in Haas colors.
“With 113 starts for our team alone, we know where his strengths lie and his knowledge and experience of our organization pairs very well with that too. On the other side of the garage, Nico’s simply slotted in without fuss or fanfare and proved himself to be a valuable member of the team. He’s approaching 200 starts in Formula 1 and we’re very happy to be the beneficiary of that experience behind the wheel.”
“Kevin and Nico are clearly enjoying their time in the sport, they both have mature heads on their shoulders, and they fundamentally understand what it is we’re asking of them,” added the Haas team boss. “In turn, now it’s down to us as a team to look ahead to 2024 and ensure we have a car that’s capable of scoring points consistently.”
With both Hülkenberg and Magnussen back in the fold for next season, Haas has something they have not enjoyed since the 2020 season: Stability in the driver lineup.
As Steiner notes, the team has dealt with some challenges this season. One-lap pace for the team has been strong, with Hülkenberg in particular showing some prowess during qualifying this season. The most notable example came at the Canadian Grand Prix, when Hülkenberg qualified in second ahead of the Grand Prix. A penalty, however, would see him start fifth.
Race pace, however, has been a much different story for the team. Haas is bringing some upgrades to Zandvoort, but as with this announcement regarding their 2024 lineup, they also have their eyes on the VF-24.
“We have got some upgrades coming for Zandvoort, on the brake ducts and front wing, but the team is working flat out to make some modifications to the car which will be coming later on in the year and I can’t give an exact timeline because of the shutdown. We keep on working, and there are two reasons for this,” said Steiner in the team’s preview of the Dutch GP. “Firstly, to try and make the car go quicker as you always do with upgrades but also to know the direction for the VF-24, which is as important, if not more important. There’s a lot of hard work going on, it’s almost as intense as being in December developing the new car.”
At least they will not have a new driver lineup to worry about.